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The most wonderful time of the year is also the costliest: 10 ways to save

Dec 10 2018 17:23
Allison Jeftha, Fin24

The festive season is about family and, if you're lucky, a well-deserved break. But the most wonderful time of the year is also the costliest.

For many South Africans after the holiday festivities come to an end, the reality of over extending oneself financially "sinks in", says Managing Executive at Absa's Everyday Banking, Cowyk Fox.

"Many people fall prey to impulsive buying or find it difficult to resist the festive season spirit", says Fox.

Product Specialist at FNB Wealth and Investments Ester Ochse echoes this statement, but advises consumers to not give in to temptation.

"Giving into impulse spending at this time of the year is very easy but try to avoid it as much as possible."

Here are their 10 tips to help you manage your festive finances.

1. Save a third to 50% of your bonus windfall to see you through to January - Put it away in another bank account, away from your day-to-day banking account so that you are not tempted to spend it.

2.  Maximise rewards programme benefits - Save these up through the year, then ensure that you redeem all the benefits at the end of the year for the festive period.

3. Get a savings 'CheckMate' - Get a trusted person who will be honest enough to restrain you when you become extravagant with your spending.

4. Don’t repeat history - What you did wrong during the 2017/2018 festivities, is what you need to avoid this time around. This requires you to audit your own bank statement. If need be, speak to your CheckMate so that he/she can keep you honest.

5. Craft a personal budget - Budgeting allows you to use your funds/income as planned for and guards against spending more than you can afford. At all costs, avoid your next salary being used to plug the December hole.

6. Set a limit on gift purchases - Have a monetary limit on gifts that you give over the festive season, and then stay within this budget.

7. Keep a check list - When going into a shopping centre, have a clear goal of who and what you want to shop for, then tick these off the list. Another option is to shop online, as this will reduce impulse spending.

8. Make use of low-cost activities - Look for low cost or no cost activities, such as going for a walk or going to the beach. Play board games. Instead of going out to restaurants, Ochse suggests you rather have a pot luck dinner for a few family/friends at home.

9. Maintain a steady balance through January - Getting paid earlier than usual? You could keep that money in your savings pockets, then you can "pay yourself" on your normal payday. That way January will not be so long.

10. Make use of your savings packages - If you save for the holidays during the year, then this is the ideal time to use it, says Ochse. The Reserve Bank’s recent decision to increase interest rates by 25 basis points means that it pays to save, Fox added.

"There is no easy way to make January feel any shorter or kinder to the wallet – but with a few minor tweaks and lifestyle changes, you can at least make it through the month without too much hardship or sacrifice," Fox advises.

savings  |  holidays  |  festive season


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